the hit movie comes to the stage courtesy of ECCT
Elle Woods and the girls of Delta Nu are about to share their sprightly charm and perfect—“omigod you guys”—confidence in “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” Presented by the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre, the Broadway musical opens Aug. 9 at the State Theatre.
Based on the hit 2001 movie, Legally Blonde, and Amanda Brown’s novel of the same title, the musical, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, and book by Heather Hach, follows the always-perky, and always-pink-clad Elle Woods, along with her chihuahua, Bruiser, on a journey like no other. As a UCLA sorority president-turned-Harvard Law student, she embarks on a witty and glittery quest to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner, proving that she is more than your average pampered fashionista.
Jessica Breed, a veteran actress who has starred in numerous local musicals, including the ECCT’s productions of Guys and Dolls, and Rent, is thrilled to play the role of the quirky and inspiring Elle Woods.
“Throughout her journey, she learns exactly who she is, yet is able to stay true to herself and never compromise her integrity,” says Breed. “It’s really a sweet story about finding your true self and learning you can be more than you ever thought was possible.”
Underneath the charmingly nauseating haze of pink and animated sorority girl sass, Legally Blonde, is at its center, a story of individual accomplishment and empowerment.
“Besides the fact that she is hilariously naÃ¯ve and has some killer clothes and shoes, I’ve always loved stories of women learning to empower themselves,” says Breed. “We all have that time in our lives when we lived to earn the respect or admiration of somebody else, often times doing things that were not really in our character to be the person we thought they would want us to be. What Elle Woods teaches us is that by respecting yourself and embracing the talents and skills you already possess, you can go farther than you ever thought possible.”
That is a message Breed takes to heart. She hopes audiences will too.
“I use many of the lessons from this story in my own life as I work to achieve my goal of becoming a professional actor,” Breed said. “In life, there will be people who doubt you. There will be people who don’t like you. And there will be people who love you. I no longer think about the first two. They suck out too much energy, and I will likely never be able to change their opinions. Instead, I give as much as I can to that third group. Like Elle, I will do all I can to improve the skills I already possess and be the best version of me I can be. The rest will just fall into place.”
The ECCT is anticipating a successful run, thanks in part to the success of the film and positive reception on the Broadway stage.
“I fell in love with the story when Reece Witherspoon starred in the movie version,” Breed said. “Since then I have seen it on Broadway and twice on tour. It’s fun, it’s high- energy, and the dancing is incredible!”
Wayne Marek, show director and Executive Director of the ECCT, is also enthusiastic about its debut.
“We’re always looking for a new release to put on our schedule,” Marek said. “This show recently became available and with all the high-energy dancing it’s a great way to kick off the 24th season.”
If you are anxious for more ways to interact with the cast, a flapjack fundraiser benefiting programming at the ECCT will be held at Applebee’s in Eau Claire on August 11. The cast will be in character and costume, so guests can enjoy breakfast and conversation with Elle and her sorority sisters.